This past Friday’s Body Image class was on Parents, Peers, and Body Image. Usually this class is a heartbreaker for me, personal stories illustrating how parents can go awry, negatively impacting their child’s self-esteem inadvertently. It is the “you’d be so much happier if you just lost 20 pounds” comments, the “are you really going out in that” questions that dent away at a person’s body armour. But it is not only that. The other thing that we do as parents, especially as mothers, is teach our children that it is not only okay to criticize our bodies but that it is appropriate and expected. With each “I am so fat,” we teach our children that our bodies should be judged, that we can never be enough, that criticism is a necessity, that we should never be satisfied, that our body is a project and not a vehicle. But do that many parents really crticize their bodies in front of their children? Indeed. Fifty-seven percent of all girls have a mother who criticizes herself in front of her children. Maybe it is not just her body she laments but lament she does. I asked my class on Friday how many of them had a mother who criticized her body or looks in front of them, more than 50% of my students- male and female- raised their hands. I do not always adore my hair or body or whatever, but I know that none of those surface things have anything to do with my worth, and one of my commitments to my child and any future children is that I will not confuse or hurt them by making them think that I am unhappy with my life or self or that berating one’s self is not just appropriate but expected. I don’t want my children to fall into that 57% of children who have a mother who berates herself, not just because of what it says about me and my satisfaction with life, but because of what it might do to them one day. Today, if you are a mother or expect to one day be a mother, can you make the commitment to be in the 43% percent of mothers who don’t let self-criticism fall from their lips? If we each make that commitment, that number changes and with that number changing, we all change.